What is the Future of College Marketing?
Many people think of branding when they think of college marketing, but branding alone does not generate marketing. Institutions of higher education are discovering that to prevent enrollment numbers from flat-lining, they will have to plan for the future of college marketing.
The future of college marketing is about the sophisticated use of data, experiences, and technology for identifying prospective students.
Colleges once studied the demographics of the students the attracted to their campuses. Factors such as age, gender, and ethnicity were analyzed in the hopes of finding the right applicants.
Smart colleges today explore psychographics to identify the students most likely to succeed at their campuses. Psychographics go far beyond demographics, because they measure subjective areas, like attitude and interest, in an attempt to understand their potential students.
In short, colleges are taking their cues from social media, determining what applicants care about the most.
Knowing who your potential students are means knowing what they want. Colleges can now provide incoming students a plethora of perks and amenities designed to attract them to the university and keep them enrolled until graduation.
These perks may include late night sushi bars, updated technology, and access to cultural events, and they may be the ticket to attracting students and keeping them in school.
There is no doubt that technology will continue to play a huge role in the future of college marketing. Colleges will continue to review big data, and they’ll still need to cater to student interests.
Most students are interested in acquiring hands-on experiences, which is something difficult and expensive for universities to provide. Technological advances, however, are changing that. Colleges are able to offer simulated experiences for their students. These experiences can also be used for marketing purposes.
Rather than send out a brochure or post a video on the campus web site for prospective students, students could participate in a simulated tour of the campus. Colleges could and should customized these tours according to individual interests.
Simulation-based marketing may become common one day in college marketing, creating high-end user experiences and attracting more students to the campus.
Developing the right environment for higher learning means providing students with what they want. University marketing can engage them with their environment. It’s time for colleges to go beyond branding. College must initiate future marketing strategies today to increase their enrollments.